I recently came across this article in InfoTrends where they completed a “The Future of Office Printing” research study. They came away with these key findings:
- Required printing is fairly consistently 60% of people’s print volume regardless of age and company size, and 40% of print is optional
- Young workers (18-29 years old) do not show the dramatic decline in printing that is often associated with this age group
- Traditional office environments (i.e., headquarters, branch offices) are still generating highest print volumes
- Two-thirds of respondents said their company has taken steps to remove, simplify, or automate document-related business processes
- On average survey respondents spend 36 minutes retrieving digital documents versus 20 minutes for paper documents
- Almost 40% of respondents say less than one-quarter of their business content remains on paper
I often warn my clients that if we just “scan all your documents”, we will effectively take all of your problems and headaches out of the filing cabinets and move them to the data center. A quick conversation with your IT Staff will probably reveal their concerns about storing all these new files you want to create. Items can still be misfiled, discarded accidentally, security concerns loom larger than ever, unnecessary redundancy, timely purging, etc. Nothing has been improved or automated, just digitized. It can be just as cumbersome and expensive as the space you are taking up today with your filing cabinets.
If you do or did this, it can also make the finding number 5 really depressing for you.
On average survey respondents spend 36 minutes retrieving digital documents versus 20 minutes for paper document.
The point of undertaking the expense and the time to make all your documents digital is to make it faster and easier to retrieve them when you need them right? But this research shows it’s actually taking almost twice as long! This is quite an expensive and pointless endeavor you could involve yourself in.
Bullet point number 2 is also very interesting.
Young workers (18-29 years old) do not show the dramatic decline in printing that is often associated with this age group.
I personally would not have believed that this was the case. People in my generation tend to think the problem will go away as we begin to retire. But apparently that is not the case!
My advice to you is do not get caught up in the project where you decide to digitize everything first and then plan to find the right software to manage them later. Instead you should identify the right Enterprise Content Management solution first. Look for a solution that will communicate with your other systems directly and provide the documents and data to your other systems automatically. Automation is the basis of an ECM or (Enterprise Content Management) solution.
With the right ECM solution you can reduce your company’s paper consumption and increase your efficiencies dramatically. But make sure you are ready. Without one, you could expend a lot of capital and resources just to make things worse